The influence of local oil exploration and regional wildfires on summer 2015 aerosol over the North Slope of Alaska
Abstract. The Arctic is warming at an alarming rate, yet the processes that contribute to the enhanced warming are not well understood. Arctic aerosols have been targeted in studies for decades due to their consequential impacts on the energy budget, both directly and indirectly through their ability to modulate cloud microphysics. Even with the breadth of knowledge afforded from these previous studies, aerosols and their effects remain poorly quantified, especially in the rapidly changing Arctic. Additionally, many previous studies involved use of ground-based measurements, and due to the frequent stratified nature of the Arctic atmosphere, brings into question the representativeness of these datasets aloft. Here, we report on airborne observations from the US Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program's Fifth Airborne Carbon Measurements (ACME-V) field campaign along the North Slope of Alaska during the summer of 2015. Contrary to previous evidence that the Alaskan Arctic summertime air is relatively pristine, we show how local oil extraction activities, 2015's central Alaskan wildfires, and, to a lesser extent, long-range transport introduce aerosols and trace gases higher in concentration than previously reported in Arctic haze measurements to the North Slope. Although these sources were either episodic or localized, they serve as abundant aerosol sources that have the potential to impact a larger spatial scale after emission.